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HBO’s weird, wonderful and almost impossibly moving series Painting with John has recently entered its second season, and if you’re not caught up with Season 1, now is the time! Each episode is about twenty minutes long, so you can knock it all out in just over two hours.

If you were a fan of John Lurie’s first series, Fishing with John from (gosh) thirty years ago, you might have a clue regarding what you’re in for, but it’s not a prerequisite for watching Painting with John.

It’s got a simple setup: musician/actor John Lurie talks about, oh, everything while he paints. Or doesn’t paint. The closest thing there is to any action is Lurie repeatedly crashing drones in an attempt to film an opening for the show itself, or bouncing tires down a hill, shouting “Bounce!” over and over.

But if the stakes sound low, they’re not. Lurie talks about life and death and laughter and sorrow. Childhood stories, a brush with cancer, possums, why people in New York restaurants have such terrible laughs. You know: the big questions.

He’s an excellent raconteur, whether he’s telling you about the time his oven exploded or positing that the reason he got pulled over by a traffic cop was because of the way his eyebrows look.

And the paintings are beautiful too.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.

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  • Praise be we have you to keep us informed because HBO failed to point this series out to me. Onward!

  • might have to get HBO again for season 2. season 1 put me into a dream state.

  • Yes, I discovered this one a while back. It has an oddball charm, for sure.

  • Sounds exactly like the kind of quirky shows my hubby and I love. Have you tried Jack Whitehall’s Travels With My Father on Netflix yet?

  • I fell in love with everything John Lurie during season 1 and am thrilled to learn there is a second season!! I watched every episode of season 1 multiple times and have it recorded so I can rewatch it whenever I like.

  • Thank you so much for recommending Painting with John. Because the title sounds like a painting instruction show, I never would have watched it and it would have been a big loss. You have never steered us wrong with your recommendations and I look forward to them each week. Thank you, thank you again.

  • Oh, the Joy of Watching John Lurie—from Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law to this enchanting show. How could you not love the guy?

  • You had me at “20 minutes episodes”
    I’m here for this. Git painting, J!

  • This sounds like one of those quirky shows I will enjoy – and 20 min episodes are perfect. It reminds me of another show, Joe Pera Talks With You – so sweetly offbeat, you scratch your head the first couple episodes, wondering where the series is leading. But it’s leading nowhere. The episodes are mostly less than 20 min also.

    • I’ve almost turned in a piece about Joe Pera before but I always stumble a little trying to describe it, and honestly I think the less you know about it going in, the better it is.

  • I LOVE this series. His paintings are fantastic and the way he just chats as he paints, it’s amazing. I’m so glad there’s another season!

  • The commentaries by you and Scot Simon are the highlights of my weekends. Thank you! I’ve never heard of John Lurie, but I’ll check him out.

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